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THE LOWDOWN: Enjoy myself

Richard Hoad, [email protected]

THE LOWDOWN: Enjoy myself

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THIS WEEK I suggest you and my mentor Rev Haynesley Griffith oogle Veoma, then Google “Enjoy Yourself”. Experts are agreed that people nowadays live longer, but not happier, lives. I believe this song is the reason why we were happier back then. We heeded it:

“Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think, enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink. The years go by as quickly as a wink; enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

Imagine no carbs, no calories, no cholesterol, no trans fats. Or, at least, no health “experts” claiming these were bad for you. We drank swank (sugar and water) by the gallon, ate red meat, eggs, mangoes, bananas ad galorem, and the sweetest food on earth. No vegetarians around.

My early life centred around riding donkeys. Every day after school until after dark. I’ve always hoped some day to repeat. It ain’t gonna happen. I’ve left it too late.

“You work and work for years and years, you’re always on the go. You never take a minute off, too busy making dough. Someday, you say, you’ll have your fun, when you’re a millionaire, imagine all the fun you’ll have, in some old rocking-chair.”

Had hobbies like photography, woodworking, but gave my heart to music. Sweet memories of bands. Once after I aced Danny Boy on the tenor at a carnival fete at UWI, a Trini fellow told me: “Boy, that is the first time I ever knew a white man had a soul.”

After the band days, it was different groupings, calypso, latin, standards, celtic, parang, you name it. Sax, guitar, keyboards, mandolin.

Suddenly, all my music groups died on me. They’ve obviously moved on with different priorities. I still play a lot but now it’s me alone. Nobody has time. It was later than I thought. Music ain’t gonna happen no more in this life.

“You worry when the weather’s cold, you worry when it’s hot. You worry when you’re doing well, you worry when you’re not. It’s worry, worry all the time, you don’t know how to laugh; they’ll think of something funny, when they write your epitaph.”

Whatever his other interests, man is primaevally a lover. Needapuss rex. From nine to ninety-nine, mating occupies about 98 per cent of his waking thoughts. For women can do magical things. Like if you’re driving home and mention you feel sleepy. Or if you’re feeling tense and can’t sleep…

Reach my age, Reverend G, it ain’t gonna happen no more. Women are an entirely different species. They go through phases: the “megasex” phase – anytime, anywhere; the “children” phase – still cooking; the “not tonight” phase – featuring a rapid transition from “in frequently” to “infrequently”; and finally the “what’s your problem” phase?

“What’s your problem?” doesn’t mean she wants to know what your problem is. She knows damn well what it is. It’s sticking out about half mile. What she means is, it isn’t her problem.

So you’re back flying solo. And cherishing sweet memories. Kris Kristofferson put it nicely: “I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday, to be holding Bobbi’s body next to mine”.

No jackass, no music, no loving. What’s left to enjoy? Food! I love my wife’s food above all other. But here’s the thing. Nowadays it’s no sugar in my tea, avoid ice-cream, white bread, gluten. Lost 16 pounds. Stick to health foods like pork and goat’s milk. Avoid junk foods like lentils and soya. Doctor says I’m in great shape.

Great shape for what, I ask myself. If my life has virtually shut down at 70, why try to prolong it? Rev. Haynesley Griffith says your options are to “play now and pay later; or pay now and play later”. It don’t work so, Rev. When you’re young, it’s now or never. Tomorrow may be too late.

You want to reach 100? Doing the right things, eating tasteless junk? Avoiding that critical fall that usually spells the end?

Well I’ve got news for you. Time you reach 100, Barbados will be a republic. The President will come visiting. You’ll suddenly realise he or she is some ex-politician. And scramble up in panic to hide your silvers. Bruggadung! Upside down, hip gone. It’s “bye bye love, bye bye happiness, hello emptiness, I feel like I’m gonna die . . . ”

Yuh got that right.

Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.Email [email protected]